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Wilson v. Correct Care Solution

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 14, 2013

CORRECT CARE SOLUTION, et al., Defendants.

RAYMOND WILSON, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold, NJ, Plaintiff Pro Se.


PETER G. SHERIDAN, District Judge.

Raymond Wilson, who is incarcerated at Monmouth County Correctional Institution, seeks to file a Complaint without prepayment of the filing fee. This Court will grant his application to proceed in forma pauperis. [1] For the reasons expressed in this Opinion and, as required by 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B), this Court will dismiss the federal claims raised in the Complaint without prejudice to the filing of an amended complaint asserting a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and decline supplemental jurisdiction over claims arising under state law.


Wilson brings this Complaint against Correctional Care Solution and Monmouth County Jail. He asserts the following allegations.

Dec. 9. I requested to see a Dr. After a time a nurse show[ed] up with a wheel chair. I told him I had blood in my pants. He told me it was nothing but hem[orrho]ids. His 20 years experience an[d] he know[s]. About 3 hours later I needed ten blood transfusion[s] and two major operation[s]. Nurses aren[']t qualified by law. It[']s the D[octor's] job.

(Compl., ECF No. 1 at 7.)


Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) ("PLRA"), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 28 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.

"[A] pleading that offers labels or conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim[2], the complaint must allege "sufficient factual matter" to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Belmont v. MB Inv. Partners, Inc. , 708 F.3d 470, 483 n.17 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally construed, " pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim." Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc. , 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (emphasis added).


Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Mansfield, C. & L. M. Ry. Co. v. Swan , 111 U.S. 379, 383 (1884). "[T]hey have only the power that is authorized by Article III of the Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto." Bender v. Williamsport Area School Dist. , 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986).

A. Federal Claims

Section 1983 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

42 U.S.C. § 1983.

To recover under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show two elements: (1) a person deprived him or caused him to be deprived of a right secured by the constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) the deprivation was done under color of state law. See West v. Atkins , 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). As an initial matter, this Court notes that Wilson sues Monmouth county Jail or correctional Institution as defendant, but a county jail is not a "person" subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 pursuant to Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 688-90 (1978). See Russell v. City Of Philadelphia , 2011 WL 1420285 *1 (3d Cir. 2011); Powell v. Cook County Jail , 814 F.Supp. 757, 758 (N.D. Ill. 1993); McCoy v. Chesapeake Correctional Center , 788 F.Supp. 890, 893-894 (E.D. Va. 1992). Because a jail is not a person subject to suit for violation of constitutional rights, this Court will dismiss all federal claims against the jail.

Wilson also claims that Correct Care Solution is liable under § 1983 for violation of his constitutional rights. This Court presumes that Correct Care Solution was the contract medical care provider at the jail and employed the nurse who told Wilson that his rectal bleeding was hemorrhoids. An entity like Correct Care Solution cannot be found liable under § 1983 simply because it employed a nurse who allegedly violated an inmate's constitutional rights. See Monell. , 436 U.S. at 691-92; Natale v. Camden County Correctional Facility , 318 F.3d 575, 583 (3d Cir. 2003). For Correct Care Solution to be found liable under § 1983, Wilson must assert in the Complaint facts showing that Correct Care Solution had a relevant policy or custom and this policy or custom caused the alleged constitutional violation. Natale , 318 F.3d at 583-84; accord Jiminez v. All American Rathskeller, Inc. , 503 F.3d 247, 249 (3d Cir. 2007) (plaintiff must show a "direct causal link between a... policy or custom and the alleged constitutional deprivation.") (quoting City of Canton v. Harris , 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989)). On this point, the Complaint is devoid of any allegations suggesting that the alleged initial misdiagnosis by the male nurse and the alleged failure to have a doctor, rather than a nurse, be the first responder, were the result of a custom or policy of Correct Care Solution. Because the Complaint fails to specify a custom or policy of Correct Care Solution that caused the violation of his constitutional rights, it fails to state a claim under § 1983 against the entity.

A district court generally grants leave to correct deficiencies in a complaint by amendment. See DelRio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties Inc. , 672 F.3d 241, 251 (3d Cir. 2012); Shane v. Fauver , 213 F.3d 113, 115 (3d Cir. 2000). Because it conceivable that Wilson may be able to assert facts showing that Correct Care Solution, the male nurse, or another medical staff person violated his constitutional rights on December 9, this Court will grant Wilson 45 days to file an amended complaint that (1) is complete on its face and (2) asserts facts showing that the named defendant(s) violated or caused the violation of his constitutional rights.[3]

B. Supplemental Jurisdiction

"Supplemental jurisdiction allows federal courts to hear and decide state-law claims along with federal-law claims when they are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy." Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections v. Schacht , 524 U.S. 381, 387 (1998) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Where a district court has original jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 over federal claims and supplemental jurisdiction over state claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), the district court has discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction if it has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Growth Horizons, Inc. v. Delaware County, Pennsylvania , 983 F.2d 1277, 1284-1285 (3d Cir. 1993). In this case, the Court is dismissing every claim over which it had original subject matter jurisdiction at an early stage in the litigation and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).


This Court grants Wilson's application to proceed in forma pauperis , dismisses the federal claims, and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.

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